What is Real 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry and How To Identify It?
If you’re considering buying sterling silver jewelry, you will no doubt want to know the difference between pure silver and 925 sterling silver. Well, pure silver is not really made up of only silver. It has 99.9% of silver, and a small content composed of other metals such as copper.
Sterling Silver, on the other hand, consists of 92.5% silver, and the remaining part consists of copper – mostly copper. This is the reason why Sterling Silver is popularly referred to as 925 Sterling Silver or just 925 Silver.
The reason silver needs to be combined with other metals is that it is very difficult to make great designs with just pure silver, which is very soft and malleable. A bit of hardness has to be introduced, by adding other metals such as copper. That’s why jewelers are capable of making the most intricate and complex designs with 925 Sterling Silver.
Importance of Buying Real 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry
Sterling Silver Value and Difference Between Sterling Silver, Gold and Platinum
Sterling silver value
While sterling silver can be placed at number four in the list of expensive jewelry metals starting from top as the most precious metal that can be used in jewelry making, to the least expensive of them all, the value of sterling silver still makes it expensive.
This is because while conducting a comparison of more than one metal, the value of sterling silver might seem less but it is actually ‘comparatively less’. Therefore, when you consider sterling silver value on an independent basis without any comparisons, you will notice how valuable and expensive sterling silver can be.
Other than the famous standard of valuing sterling silver on the basis of its quality for being 92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% of another metal, there are a few other things that add to the value of sterling silver. We have briefly described all 4 of these factors here.
1 # Beauty and durability
Although sterling silver is an alloy of two metals, if it’s authentic then its major composition is still 92.5% of pure silver which makes it still resemble and equally beautiful as pure silver. Thus, silver lovers won’t be bothered in terms of beauty whether it is 99.9% pure silver or 92.5% of pure silver that they are buying.
As far as the durability of sterling silver is concerned, it is more durable than pure silver. In fact, not being pure silver is what increases the durability index of sterling silver. As discussed above, the main reason why another metal is added to make sterling silver is to give it enough strength to be casted into some piece of jewelry.
Thus, both beauty and durability contribute towards high sterling silver value.
2 # Using more expensive metals to add value
Sterling silver value can be significantly increased by polishing or coating it with metals like rhodium, which is a member of the platinum metal family.
Platinum alone is the most expensive of all metals used in jewelry making. It is more expensive than gold as well. Thus, by using it to give a high quality finish to sterling silver jewelry, the value of sterling silver can be increased.
Another way to increase sterling silver value is by choosing ‘sterling silver and gold jewelry’. Whereas sterling gold does not mean gold alloy made from combining gold with any other metal, sterling silver and gold jewelry is merely jewelry made up of sterling silver but coated with gold to add value to it.
3 # Designs
The complexity of a jewelry design adds to the value of it. So how much rare or complicated jewelry design you select to buy, will estimate the value of sterling silver jewelry you own.
If a design includes some rare and precious or semi-precious stones, this will also increase the value of the jewelry.
4 # Care and maintenance
Sterling silver jewelry loses its shine and luster overtime if not properly cared for or if it remains too much exposed in open air. While going for a quick polish is definitely an easy option to restore and retain the value of your sterling silver jewelry, paying less attention to sterling silver jewelry should be avoided to extend its useful life.
Difference between sterling silver, gold and platinum
The main difference between sterling silver, gold and platinum is certainly based on their value which is governed by general economic pricing factors of demand and supply.
In terms of supply, Silver is definitely mined in more quantity which turns out to be good for producing sterling silver and thus its comparable value remains at the bottom when compared with gold and platinum.
Contrary to this, gold is the second most mined metal and therefore enjoys a second place.
Whereas platinum is the third, in fact the least mined metal which makes it the most expensive of all metals in this list.
In terms of demand, the change in shifting fashion trends for consumers and what precious metals investors currently prefer to put their money into influences the demand side price of these metals.
Other than demand and supply principles, the price of metals depends upon factors like their rarity and weight. Platinum is the rarest and denser than gold and silver and is therefore more expensive.
925 Sterling Silver jewelry certainly does not come cheap.
It requires quite an investment from your side, whether you are buying a sterling silver pendant or a necklace. But it is a worthwhile investment as its value increases with time. What is very important though is not to be duped into buying fake 925 sterling silver jewelry.
This is a serious issue because many jewelers are known to sell fake sterling silver necklaces, rings, earrings and so on. Sterling silver is much cheaper than costlier metals such as gold, and yet, fake imitations of sterling silver jewelry are sold in the market.
For instance, it is common to come across silver plated jewelries that are sold as real sterling silver jewelries. Just jewelries have only a minimal silver content and are bound to deteriorate, sooner than later.
That is why, knowing how to identify real 925 sterling silver from the fake ones will be of a great help to you and save you from much pain later.
The techniques described here will help you do just that – to identify real sterling silver jewelry from the fake ones that are sold by certain untrustworthy sellers.
1. Rub the jewelry using a soft white cloth.
If you find any black marks on the cloth, then you can be sure that it is made of real sterling silver. This is because any air exposure causes real sterling silver to oxidize. This causes them to deteriorate with time, and the reason why black marks are found on the cloth they are polished with.
2. Do The Nitric Acid Test.
When drops of nitric acid are added to fake non-silver jewelries, they cause them to lose their color. Always ask a jeweler before buying 925 sterling silver from him if you can conduct the nitric acid test on it.
Nitric acid has no effect on real 925 silver, so if the jeweler is selling you a genuine product, he won’t have any objection to that. But be sure to wear gloves and protect your eyes with goggles while doing the nitric acid test.
If the jewelry is made of real sterling silver, the part on which you drop the nitric acid will appear creamy in color, otherwise, if fake, it will appear green.
3. Use the Smell Test.
Real sterling silver shouldn’t smell. If it does, it is because there is too much copper in it.
4. Use the Magnet Test.
This is a simple test. Magnets have no effect on silver – just as they have no effect on gold or platinum. But if you find that the jewelry is attracted to the magnet, then it will be clear to you that it is not made of real sterling silver.
5. Real sterling silver jewelry will have markings such as “Ster,” “925” or “Sterling Silver” in a hidden area. If you don’t see such a marking, be wary of it immediately.